Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Bengal reach semis with win over Jharkhand
Bengal have advanced to the semi-finals of the Ranji Trophy 2022-23 with a nine-wicket triumph over Jharkhand. Bengal were in command throughout the quarter-final contest as Jharkhand hardly looked anywhere in the hunt. Pacer Akash Deep was Bengal's shining star in the contest as he scalped six wickets. Abhimanyu Easwaran, Shahbaz Ahmed, and Sudip Gharami starred with fifties. Here are the key stats.
How did the game pan out?
Bengal won the toss and opted to bowl. Jharkhand couldn't embrace the challenge and were folded for 173. Kumar Suraj scored an unbeaten 89. In reply, Bengal posted 328 thanks to Easwaran (77), Gharami (68), and Shahbaz Ahmed (82). After earning a 155-run first-innings lead, Bengal bundled Jharkhand out for 221. Chasing 67, Bengal crossed the line with nine wickets in hand.
Eighth 50-plus score in eight games for Easwaran
Easwaran scored a 155-ball 77 followed by an unbeaten 28 in the game. It was his eighth fifty-plus score in as many FC games. With 738 runs in six games at 92.25, Easwaran is currently Bengal's highest run-getter this season. Overall in FC cricket, he now owns 6,314 runs in the format in 84 games, with his average being over 48 (48.19).
1,000 FC runs for Gharami
Meanwhile, Gharami, who recorded scores of 68 and 26* in the contest, has now advanced to 1,000 FC runs. The 23-year-old now owns 1,015 runs in 15 games at 42.29 (100s: 3, 50s: 6). In the ongoing season, he owns 636 runs at 53.
Akash Deep shines with the ball
Pacer Akash Deep ran through Jharkhand's batting line-up in the first innings with a brilliant four-wicket haul (4/46). He took a couple of wickets (2/46) in his second outing as well. With 31 wickets in eight games, he is currently Bengal's leading wicket-taker this season. Overall, he owns 80 wickets in 22 FC games at 22.53. The tally includes three five-fers.
Shahbaz Ahmed's all-round brilliance
Ahmed was also instrumental in taking Bengal to glory. With the help of nine fours and two sixes, the southpaw scored a 120-ball 81. He also took two wickets with his left-arm-spin bowling. Overall, the all-rounder owns 296 runs and 17 wickets this season. He boasts 1,399 runs at 45.12 and 79 wickets at 20.82 in 25 First-Class matches.